1408 – A Movie Review

Based on a Stephen King short story, 1408 started very strong.  We were quickly introduced to the complexities of John Cusack’s character through deft editing, efficient dialogue, and Cusack’s effortless acting.  Unfortunately, the movie became a tribute to inconstancy for the remainder of the film and went nowhere fast.

 

Cusack plays a once talented author who sold out.  He now writes about haunted hotels after staying in them overnight.  A total disbeliever, he is condescending of his own work and is often the opposite of what his readers expect when they meet him.

 

However, soon he is mysteriously invited to visit a hotel in New York City and stay specifically in room 1408.  The manager, played magnanimously by Sam Jackson, refuses to rent Cusack the room, but eventually gives in due to legalities.  Cusack believes it’s all just part of the show as he’s before seen such dramatizations.

 

Cusack quickly realizes that the room is actually haunted, and the movie spends a great deal of time trying to terrify us with psychological taunting.  It offers many, what some may consider, cerebral twists and turns, but I found the whole thing a supreme waste of time.  There were moments of true creepiness, but overall I thought it rather cliché and annoying.

 

I find Cusack always entertaining, but even he couldn’t rescue this movie as 1408 went nowhere fast, and this was especially disappointing because it started so interestingly.

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Reading Raider Fundraiser, December of 2007

Below are some photographs my wife took from my appearance at the Bloomington High School Reading Raider Book Club fundraiser held at Barnes and Noble.  It was a magnificent event with all manner of entertainment taking place.  I heard the Reading Raiders raised nearly nine hundred dollars!  Way to go, Reading Raiders!

  All Photographs Copyright © Kristen Foley 2007  All Rights Reserved

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The Sandman: Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman – A Book Review

I’ve heard much about The Sandman series for many years, and so last summer I finally decided to experience it for myself.  The first volume was adequate, but it didn’t “wow” me as much as I expected.  Probably because, by this point in time, Gaiman’s concepts had been copied and recopied so many times by so many other writers that the original held little distinction.

 

I took solace in the fact that Volume III of the series was to be the one that set The Sandman beyond anything else in the comic book medium that came before or after.  Sadly—for me—it didn’t electrify.  Good?  Certainly.  Great?  No.

 

So, believing the opinions of several friends can’t be wrong, I still pressed on.  Volume IV, Season of Mists, proved to be the one.  This is the volume that completely and utterly “wowed” me.  From the beginning to the end, this was a tightly woven story packing emotional, philosophical, intellectual, and conceptual punches that did not fail to capture both my imagination and respect.  The character of Morpheus is visually interesting, but it was not until this volume that he began to fascinate me as a well-rounded character.

 

The premise is simple in Season of Mists.  Morpheus realizes he long ago made a mistake for which he must atone.  It is how he deals with coming to this decision and the ramifications of going about executing it that astonished me.  Gaiman’s imagination is limitless in Season of Mists, pulling from established myths and legends as well as creating his own.

 

The art, like all of the volumes, is rather hit or miss.  Luckily, the image of Morpheus is so striking and the stories so good that the art is easy to overlook.

 

Finally, I wouldn’t consider myself a fan of Harlan Ellison by any stretch of the imagination, but his introduction to this volume is delightful and is alone worth the price of the entire book.

Allin Township Library Book Signing, September of 2007

Here are some photographs from an appearance at the Allin Township Library in Stanford, IL.  I gave a talk on the writing process and discussed various methods of getting published.  Special thanks to Gloria Beanblossom–head librarian and fellow author–for inviting me to her library!

 All Photographs Copyright © Kristen Foley 2007  All Rights Reserved

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Outside View of Allin Township Library

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Young Man Taking Notes

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Use Your Writer’s Market!

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Taking Questions

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The Pocket Muse by Monica Wood, My Lifeline

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Standing

The Cover to “Dr. Nekros: The Tragedian (Volume I, Episode I)”

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This is the cover Amazon Shorts developed for the first of my serialized stories featuring Dr. Nekros. 

The Amazon Shorts program an initiative through Amazon.com where the reader can download an author’s work for only $00.49.  Amazon.com will store the story for you in a digital locker, email it to you in the body of an email, and also email it to you as a PDF. 
 
My first story is called “Dr. Nekros: The Tragedian.”  Dr. Nekros is the lead character in a serialized storyline who is a ghost hunter pursuing the demon that disfigured him, all while trying to avoid his ex-wife.  Check it out at: 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000Z9VWI0/ref=cm_arms_pdp_dp

Holidays On Ice by David Sedaris – A Book Review

A friend, feeling that my sense of humor would appreciate such a thing, loaned me a copy of Holidays On Ice by David Sedaris.  I’ve heard quite a bit about Sedaris, but I’ve never had the pleasure of reading his work.  Holidays On Ice did not fail to delight.

 

An exceptionally quick read, this book is a collection of mostly previously published material.  It contains both fiction and nonfiction alike, and at times I seriously couldn’t be sure to which genre some stories belonged.  This ambiguity made things all the more fun.

 

Sedaris takes a rather sarcastic approach to how people treat Christmas, and while it may seem snotty and cynical, I found it painfully accurate in many cases, especially if you read between the lines.

 

While I wouldn’t consider Sedaris as skilled a writer as McCarthy or Chabon in terms of technique, he certainly knows how to convey his humor through the written word, and I believe such aptitude is incredibly rare.  He is one of the few writers I’ve ever experienced who had me literally laughing out loud as I read.

Henry’s Market Book Signing, August of 2007

Beardstown Houston Memorial Library sponsored a book signing at Henry’s Market in Beardstown, IL.  Henry’s Market has a lovely ambiance and wonderful food and drink selections.  If you haven’t been there, pay them a visit!  Make sure you drop by the Beardstown Houston Memorial Library as well!

All Photographs Copyright © Kristen Foley 2007  All Rights Reserved

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